Skinny dip record attempt slammed as 'indecent'

By Kiri Gillespie of the Bay of Plenty Times -
File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

An attempt at breaking a world-record for skinny dipping planned for Mount Maunganui is being labelled unacceptable and indecent.

The idea was raised by The Edge radio station after listeners voted the nudie run at the Bay of Plenty beach would be the best way to herald the start of summer.

Marketing manager Emily Hancox said the skinny dip world record attempt would, hopefully, be held on December 1 "as a bit of fun".

"It's not for people to be shy or embarrassed. If people can see the fun in it and try to get New Zealand on the map for that [world record], it will be great," she said.

However, national director of Family First NZ Bob McCoskrie said holding the event in such a public place would be "completely unacceptable".

"Show some decency and have respect for families that are going to be there, especially at the beginning of the peak summer season," he said.

"If they want to do that and can do it in a discreet way then well and good, but when they are doing it in such a public place it's inconsiderate and unacceptable.

"When it's full nudity like they are proposing it's highly offensive."

The world record for a collective skinny dip was set by 413 people in the United Kingdom last year.

Ms Hancox said she hoped there would be more at Mount Maunganui and suggested bringing bus loads of people from Auckland and Hamilton to take part.

"It's just an opportunity to be proud of your body and who you are and it's a fun opportunity to do something different that probably most of us won't have done in our lives." A Tauranga City Council spokeswoman said The Edge had made an initial approach but an event plan had yet to be lodged.

Event planners needed to book space on the beach with the council to ensure they did not clash with other planned events, the spokeswoman said.

An event plan typically covered parking and access, toilets, safety, whether amplified sound was required, any environmental effects and compliance of food or alcohol requirements.

A skinny dip event was also expected to take place in Christchurch on the same day.

Earlier this year, Papamoa resident Shaun Gallagher called in police to help his neighbourhood deal with unsavoury nudist behaviour on their stretch of beach.

While Mr Gallagher still held concerns about nudists in his neighbourhood sand dunes, he had no problem with the group skinny dip.

"If people are brave enough doing that, fine. Good luck to them all," he said.

"It doesn't appear to be devious or unsavoury. It's definitely in a different category."

Mr Gallagher said his concerns lay with nudists parading in front of children or on a remote beach where others felt victimised.

Mount Maunganui co-ordinator for Neighbourhood Support Reverend Marie Gilpin said it was not illegal to be nude but if people were offended they could call the police.

"I think it's personal responsibility," Reverend Gilpin said.

"If people know it's going to be on and if they don't like it, they can stay away."

People would only have themselves to blame if they went to have a look and complained afterward, Reverend Gilpin said.

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